By nature we snowboarders are always thinking how to evolve and progress our riding so why should our food game be any different? This season we have graduated from the good but novice Roni Stix to the gourmet “Armlami”. Simon is always looking to extend his range in the exotic meats department and showed up with a rack of salami that was comparable to a small arm and since then the term armlami has been officially coined in the Whistler backcountry. It keeps well, travels well and can take a beating in your backpack. Long day on the sled and forget to download your gear? No worries, the armlami will probably only mature in flavor if you leave it in there for a few days until the next cycle. Dont be fooled by the impostor cuts in the deli section. Look for premium armlami in the random freezer next to the olive bar or other international foods area of the grocery store. If you show up in the backcountry with the wrong arm you will probably have to sit out while the rest of the crew matches slabs. Don’s Pick and overall fav of the crew this season was the Argentinian flavor from Moccia Urbani. 5 out of 5 chins.
Simon’s pride and joy in the backcountry.
Mid session waiting for a window.
This was borderline leglami. Not a good look.
Another day another arm.
End of the day loaded up but still a few slab on deck.
This was first for me. Over 10 trips to Japan and I’d never even heard of Okonomiyaki, Japanese pancake. Basically another DIY cuisine that you would never find stateside. Choose from an endless variety of different bowls from vegetarian to seafood and every species in-between mixed with some corn batter, egg, spices and vegetables. Mix well and sizzle it up to nice golden brown, flip and garnish with eel sauce, maybe? Fish flakes and mayo. Split it up and share with the homies while you literally match bowls with each other to sample the different strains. 4 out of 5 chins. Reo and Kyo ordered the perfect amount and variety for our crew. Still hungry? It’s quick and east to re-up because they don’t have to cook it. They just toss in the ingredients and send it your way.
Simon waiting to be fed.
The first bowl before the mix down.
Reo handling biz.
What it looks like after the mix.
A little side snack.
Sean and Kyo holdin’ it down.
Cut and flip.
Re-up squid bowl.
Add fish flakes and sauce.
Reo chefs the impossible.
Reo hooked up this one special.
Only in Tokyo can you find a place of such overwhelming audio and visual stimulation that you feel like you just stepped into another dimension yet the locals consider it just a casual dinning experience. Welcome to Robot Restaurant. The name is simple but the end game is mind altering. Dinosaurs, robots, sword play, loud music and 40 Japanese women dancing for your entertainment while you dine on a suspect bento box and sip green tea. The meal is comparable to economy class airline food but you immediately forget about that before the show even starts. It feels like a cross between a game show, a cabaret, an alien invasion and laser light show. They perform about 5 or 6 different acts ranging from a traditional Japanese theme to a full cyborg attack. The entertainment continually flows and keeps your mind free of the food. At one point we were shamelessly dancing to Gangnam Style. Don’s Pick is the bottled green tea closely followed by the edamame. Not much to taste here but lots to see. Tip: there is a dress code, no drunk people, no sunglasses, no gangster tattoos. I’m not making this up. I’ll give it five out of five chins just because you can easily hit the Shinjuku streets after and tool up a ramen bowl, which is almost mandatory, so you can calm your nerves and discuss what just happened. I’m still tripping.
Simon in front of Robot Restaurant.
Photog, Sean Sullivan chillin’ in the foyer.
Tim and I pose with one of the stars of the show.
Simon second guessing after his first bite.
The entertainment starts mellow enough.
Mellow drum line.
Fully robotic dinosaur!
Women driving oversize women with pneumatic breasts.
Simon getting a pic with some robots.
Chillin’ with the mad scientist.
This is general review and not exclusive to one specific restaurant in Japan so I will exclude the chin rating system but so far I’ve never had a bad experience in over 10 visits to Japan when it comes to this fine cuisine. We always request a dinner at a Japanese BBQ immediately upon touchdown in the land of the rising sun. If a place like this exists in somewhere in America I’ve never heard of it. The liability a restaurant would have to assume to let a bunch of drunk americans control their own BBQ would be grand. The Japanese are well disciplined and honorable and therefore, entrusted the right to tool up raw beef, from every quadrant of the animal, and often swine at their leisure right at their own table. It’s simple and fast. You don’t even have to wait for your meal to be cooked! Choose from several assorted platters and they will send it to your table with a variety of sauces to dip your flanks of custom cooked meat into. Still hungry? Just repeat. Each different cut of meat posses a unique flavor but I stopped asking about what part of the animal I was eating after I was told that one of my favorite slabs was the tongue! Just stay focused on not over cooking you meat and don’t worry about where it’s coming from. Unless it’s the intestine! Definitlay a flag but we tooled it up anyway. Not sure what the big horse meat scandal is all about because we tool that up regularly in Japan too, sashimi style though. Off the meat rack, for real though. Don’s pick has to be the tongue piece.
Kimchi appetizer and sauce array.
Warm up multi meat.
The tongue son.
Mixed it up with a bit of the other white meat this trip.
Another round of the premium cut.
I still don’t know what the thing on the right was. It came with some kind of egg on it. This dish was not for the grill and eaten raw.
A pulled back view of the slaughter.
Well marinated intestine is good intestine.
The local homie Kyo taking the reins and handling biz.
We have tournaments to see who is the nicest on the chopsticks. Winner gets fed.
Not sure what this was but it came with its own scissors to chop up and share with the table.
A closer look.
Simon choppin’ weight.
Tim, our Japan connect choppin’ weight.
The endless quest for the perfect leaf steak has taken us to a wide range of establishments. Some good, some bad, but so far all with one thing in common, the ability to satisfy a beast on his grind. The latest evolution in this crusade is Beefy Queen. One of our new filmers and aspiring Finnish rap star Rico Wamos sent us in here and declared it the best leaf steak in Helsinki. “You can just be yourself there”, he proclaimed. Heart felt words from a guy that probably gets a lot of ice grills on the street because of his thugged out demeanor, but anyway, back to the leaf. Beefy Queen has snuck into my #2 spot for leaf steaks and will def become a go to on our list of spots. Don’s pick is obviously the leaf steak because it’s all I’ve had there but I did see some nice schnitzel getting tooled up there as well. 4.5 out of 5 chins. If there were more locations I would probably give it the full 5 chin. Regardless, def a must hit up.
Queen of beef and king of beers all in one place. A good start.
Belly up for a good view or your leaf getting grilled up.
Just point to it because no matter how well you say it the Finns can’t understand you.
Eat as a unit.
Step three again for good measure.
Nothing is more disappointing than someone that talks big but when it comes down to it they pull a no show. That’s exactly what Blair McKinney tried to do before he left Squamish back home for Ontario. All we’ve been hearing out his mouth ever since his first leaf steak in Finland is how he could make such a better one and how he was going to chef up something miraculous when we got home. Fast forward a few months and just before he was going to leave we had to chisel him relentlessly to make good on his spray. It finally happened. I’m not sure he choose the proper cut of beef but it was pounded by hand and well seasoned. A bit over cooked though and if it wasn’t for Samantha Chamberlain hooking up some home cut fries, this dish would have scored even lower than it was initially looking. Blair stressed over several aspects of these leaf steaks and that stress was tasted in the final product, like a slab of bootleg Kobe Beef, but at least he made good on his promises. Just inching into the 3rd place spot among the several other leaf steak spots and garnering a 3.5 on the chin scale, it wasn’t a bad look for an unthought out and under prepared meal meant to silence the rest of the competition but still not as good as this spot. Don’s pick is the box of Fudgeos Blair instinctively picked up to cap off the winter season.
These started out fist size.
Looking ready to hit the grill piece.
Chef Blair preps his kitchen.
Looking a little too confident maybe?
You got my attention now.
Dre about to cast his vote.
A happy family.
A little overdone but still acceptable.
Full parts coming soon!
Rarely is it acceptable to indulge in a combination of the most undesirable parts of a highly processed, sodium nitrate marinated, swine filled intestinal tube otherwise know as pepperoni, but when you are deep in the backcountry this questionable “food” item suddenly becomes one of the most coveted treasures in your entire kit. Simon has been a strong supporter of the Roni Stix for the past few seasons, opting for the 250g satchel for each backcountry sun cycle. An easy solution for what to bring for lunch into the backcountry, the Roni Stix travel well and blur the lines between breakfast, lunch and snack time with a strong smell and pungent flavor guaranteed to pull even the most jaded off their sled for further investigation to sniff out the goods right at first crack of the plastic. Be the envy of your friends on those longs days of window shopping and sucker holes with your trusty go to on deck and help “cure” fatigue and get your energy levels up a few notches with the Roni Stix. While it’s a solid 5 out of 5 chins in the backcountry, they don’t even registering on the scale anyplace else. Be sure to leave this habit out there where it belongs and don’t let it into your home or around family, strictly for the hill. Don’s pick: the spicy deli ones from the Husky in Creekside, Whistler. Just take it slow or you’ll have a mean case of perpetualroni. Once you start you can’t stop.
The Roning Champ.
Blair clearly approves.
Simon holds while Joe salivates.
Sometimes the best things in life happen on a whim. The first time we experienced Eerikin Pippuri Kebab was after a long trans-atlantic flight. Delirious with jet lag and hunger pangs we were driven onto the streets at night with the lowest of edibility requirements and expectations. Usually a neon sign flashing the word Kebab is a flag unless you are looking for 4th meal but we rolled the dice, as this was the closest option next to our hotel, and stumbled into this sweet gem. Don’t be fooled by the glowing, in your face, menus detailing the available combos reminiscent of a cheap fast food joint and don’t let the unknown slab of meat tirelessly twirling in the back make you second guess your order. Instead tool up the Kana Riisilla, chicken and rice, relax and have a seat at one of the comfy booths while bad Finnish pop music videos play on the many plasma displays hung from above. A strange contrast from all the Persian artifacts on display throughout the restaurant like swords and hookas but nevertheless you will still feel like Lawrence of Arabia, especially after a few bites of kana. The Don’s pick is definitely the 8€ Kana Riisilla but if you didn’t get enough leaf steak while out on the grind that day you can tool one up at Kebab, although it ranks fairly low compared to the rest of the usual suspects. A good location, friendly staff, easy to read menu for the non-finnish speaking and its open until midnight. 4 out of 5 chins. Kiitos.
The homies and our waitress pose for a pic.
You already know what it is.
We snuggled a lot on this trip. Eating out was no exception.
Pass it to the left.
Kana four banger no question.
I’m a fan of the kana.
The leaf steak is never out of reach in Finland.
No one has stepped yet. I can’t believe this is food.
A mandatory stop for anyone traveling to Munch is the Hofbrauhaus. You will feel like you took a step back in time when you first enter. Chalices of beer rock back and forth above everyones heads as they serenade each other to various anthems played by the live band. The dinning areas are giant halls with massive tables big enough for the whole extended fam to sit and chug at. The German Polka dancers are tooled up in all the OG business gear and get it poppin’ to help complete the full experience.
I got a tip from a local shred before rolling in about tooling up the schweinshaxe with knödel. A vast departure from the surge of wiener schnitzel everyone had been steadily grindin’ but still a solid look for anyone seeking the full German vibe. So lets get to the bottom of why you really come here, to get faced. The food probably isn’t even that good but by the time it shows up it doesn’t even matter. 1 liter is the minimum size sadat you can get. Hook up a few of those and its game over. Stumble into the gift shop afterwards for a tee or hoodie and then onto the streets of Munich to look for a fight.
I can’t give this place anything on the chin rating because the Hofbrauhaus is the one giving out chins. Even for an infrequent patron it’s an easy double or even a triple chin.
Getting barreled in Germany isn’t as hard as you think.
And the winner is…
The 32 team after a few rounds.
Use these to dilute the multiple liters of beer you will consume.
Everything is a blur but one thing is for certain.
The infamous schweinshaxn with knödel.
Grenier off the meat rack.
What does a guy with restless leg syndrome, a viking and a frog all have in common?
They get started at young age in Germany.
32 holding it down son.
In a small town like Sudbury you can’t expect much when it comes to food choices but we are always down for a good wing or 50 so when we pulled into our hotel and noticed this gem radiating in the distance we were immediately curious. The name Wacky Wings should have been enough reason to throw a flag, not to mention the red palm trees and irritating duck trying to pass as a chicken for a mascot, but we tooled it up anyway. Ordering shouldn’t be too difficult in a place like this but i was instantly overwhelmed by the amount of items on the menu. The wings come in over 100 different flavors including Dr Pepper, hot chocolate, guiness BBQ and dill pickle. You can put in for an order of up to 1000 wings for $750. Rather than try and make sense of it a we opted for a special that included 2 zza’s and 40 wings.It was good for a bit but shortly after I left there was an X Games super final that uncorked in my stomach with the wings battling the zza head to head for gold. Add in a beast of a rail on deck and I was regretting every bite. In the end I was stoked to check it out but I doubt I would ever go back. If you like being indecisive and have some tums on hand then this is probably worth a sniff otherwise fall back.1.5 out of 5 chins.
Decision of a lifetime.
Simon and Blair tear in.
Not a bad look but the self life is measured in minutes.
The zza was average at best.
If you are on the verge of puking after your meal just take a stroll through here to induce vomiting.
Or just puke in you bone bucket so they can serve the next guests dinner.